NAIFA members agree to abide by the NAIFA Code of Ethics, which requires them to work in the best interests of their clients. As an advocacy association, NAIFA supports public policy that furthers this aim without limiting consumer choice or creating barriers that could prevent all Americans from having access to needed financial products, services, and advice.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) revised model regulation on annuity transactions together with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) and the new PTE 2020-02 provide a robust framework that protects Americans planning and saving for the future and managing their retirement savings. NAIFA supports these new rules that provide protections while preserving access to products and guidance.
The financial services industry has changed since 2010. Below are some examples of how the NAIFA members' business has changed to address conflicts of interest and fee arrangements.
Client quote: "We won't run out of money before we run out of breath."
"Layers of compliance exist to protect clients."
If I had only a fee-based investment schedule to work with, I may very well still be putting my retirement income in a 1% savings account. I have been able to diversify my portfolio because I have had some choices about products I could invest in with smaller amounts of money. The commission-based products have all proved monetarily to be more profitable for me rather than if I have paid for those products with a fee. I was very glad to have been given the choice.
After Reg BI, my process for explaining the choices in how clients can engage me is very clear and understandable to them. We have new procedures for determining and disclosing conflicts, our staff is trained, and the clients’ interests are always put ahead of any other interests, which I have always done. Our compliance supervisors are very skilled at educating brokers on the current rules regarding recommendations using qualified money.
As an agent and financial advisor who can assist clients on both a fee-basis and a commission basis, I’ve found that no one solution is right for everyone. If I were to limit my practice solely to fee-based clientele, I would leave more than half of my clients to fend for themselves or pay even higher fees over the long-term. Time after time, when comparing fee-based costs to commission-based charges, I’ve found commission is less over the long-term. The very nature of my practice is to help clients prepare for the long-term, putting them first. If not, I wouldn’t have been able to retain my clientele and continue to receive referrals from them over the past several decades. They appreciate what I do, and with my broker-dealer supervising me to ensure my ongoing compliance, they feel confident that I’m acting in their best interest.
My clients appreciate being able to talk with me about their needs and objectives and don’t want to use online tools and calculators. My required CE training includes courses on working with qualified accounts. I am able to work under a fee-based arrangement or a commission arrangement, and my clients appreciate being able to choose which arrangement is best for them. Most of my small business clients were reluctant to implement a 401(k) until I offered to work with their employees and staff responsible for the plan record-keeping.
We have (or our company has) new procedures for determining and disclosing conflicts, our staff is trained, and the clients’ interests are always put ahead of any other interests, which I have always done.
While I have always put my client's interests first, I believe the new best interest standard is definitely a higher standard that protects consumers more than the old "suitability" standard. I am able to work under a fee-based arrangement or a commission arrangement, and my clients appreciate being able to choose which arrangement is best for them.
After Reg BI, my process for explaining the choices in how clients can engage me is very clear and understandable to them. Sometimes a commission product is the best fit for the client’s needs and circumstances, and I satisfy DOL’s PTE requirements if I am working with qualified accounts and using commission products.
My clients like being able to talk with me and don't want to use online tools. I have always put my clients' interests first and more than one client has said they sleep better knowing I am helping with their retirement goals.
I have always put my clients’ interests first, otherwise, no one in my community would work with me. My clients appreciate being able to discuss their financial goals and objectives and don't want to use online calculators.
NAIFA's Historical Actions Regarding the Department of Labor Fiduciary Regulation
NAIFA/ACLI Press Releases on States Adopting the NAIC Model
ACLI Impact Articles Co-Authored by NAIFA Leaders